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Newsletter July 16, 2001
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Tomorrow's clothes will be intelligent

Tomorrow, your clothing will detect if your body temperature is giving signs that you are getting sick, and make contact with the doctor for you. Your suitcase will let you know what clothes it contains. In the field of "i-wear", literally intelligent clothing, everything is possible. A variety of innovative products are already available on the market today, such as stockings that hydrate and energize the leg, stain-proof ties, antibacterial socks, UV-resistant swimwear…

But certain advanced research centres are bringing together partners from the worlds of computing, telecommunications, electronics, chemistry, textiles and fashion to imagine the clothing of the future, that will be both intelligent and communicative.

At the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), researchers are working on developing smart clothes that keep their wearer in permanent contact with the world via all the media imaginable. Students will particularly like the glasses with a built-in screen and Internet access. With these glasses on, it's impossible to get lost: wherever you are, you can always connect to a navigation aide that will show a local map and directions!

This kind of clothing will allow us to be totally interconnected. With the development of speech recognition and intelligent agents, clothes will become more and more like personal assistants. The clothing of the future will be like an interactive second skin combining various resources (energy source, memory, communication tools) and acting as the interface between an individual and their environment. Eventually, it could become a "symbiotic extension" of the human being.

AgentLand brings you a vision of the future made of wool, fibres and microprocessors.


> Mysterious death of an AI pioneer
Being an AI researcher is a dangerous job at the moment… After Jeanine Salla 's mysterious death while investigating faults in the thermo-plankton web (TP-Web), Allen Hobby has also died while flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Look out for a heady mix of ecology and artificial intelligence.


> @nymail – keep track of multiple e-mail accounts
One of the results of lightning fast communication is the risk that if you don't keep up with the flow of information, you rapidly become submerged by it.
@nymail is one small step towards addressing the problem of information overload, since it enables you to automatically...

> Teleport Pro : the Web eater
Teleport Pro is an intelligent web site retrieval agent that can automatically download all or part of a website.
What is the use of a web site retrieval agent? It is obviously useless to try to download the entire Internet...

> Bonzi Buddy: look out for the Gorilla!
Surfing the Web can rapidly become a repetitive task.Same sites, same pages.Fed up with that? Fortunately, there is a way to fight digital monotony: adopt a gorilla!Bonzi Buddy is a program that gives you the illusion of artificial life. This purple gorilla could become your true personal assistant.


A G E N T  U P D A T E S

>> File Sharing <<

> BearShare
BearShare, the file sharing program, has been updated. A family option has been added to filter inappropriate content. It hides most search results with adult content. Some bugs have also been fixed. Built on Gnutella technology, BearShare provides a simple, easy to use interface combined with a powerful connection and search engine that puts thousands of different files in easy reach.


> KaZaA
KaZaA is a media community, where the community members can share their media files with each other.
KaZaA Media Desktop is a full featured peer-to-peer file sharing application. You can search, download, organise and play your media files (audio, video, images and documents) with it. It has a powerful search engine where you can search on 'meta data' such as categories...


> The communicating car
OnStar, General Motors's mobile communications division, plans to purchase text–to–speech software from Boston–based SpeechWorks.
The software will eventually help General Motors translate text–based e–mail, stock quotes, news and sports updates into speech so that drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road to consult a screen or touch pad. SpeechWorks' products, including its flagship Speechify text–to–speech engine, allow people hands–free operation without displays.

> Urbie the urban robot
Urbie is a small and lightweight robot. Its twin set of cameras act like eyes and provide stereoscopic vision, helping the rover avoid obstacles in its path. Arms that rotate 360 degrees permit Urbie to climb over obstacles and drive up stairs. If Urbie ever flips over, the arms help it to turn upright again.
Originally designed for mobile military reconnaissance in city terrain, Urbie may one day investigate environments contaminated with radiation, biological hazards or chemical spills. Urbie could also search for victims in fires too dangerous for firefighters.

> iHome: house of the future
iHome is the first Austrian Internet home. It has been developed by Cisco Systems with twelve partners in the south of Vienna. From the outside, the house looks like a normal prefabricated building. But inside, it is equipped with all the Internet infrastructure making it possible, for example, to switch on your heating while you are still in your office, see who is at the door without getting up from your armchair, etc.
Electricity and gas meters can also be monitored via PC or web pad, allowing you to track how much energy you are using and make adjustments if necessary.
A touchscreen on the wall of the living room gives the occupants access to all of the building's functions.

> An intelligent robot against bombs
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have unveiled a wheeled police robot that makes many decisions on its own, freeing up its operator to make the more critical decisions during potentially dangerous bomb-disablement or other law enforcement missions.
The robot outfitted with cameras, grippers, and other sensors and tools is particularly useful during bomb threat responses because it can enter a dangerous area, assess the situation, and handle explosive devices while the human operator is safely behind a control panel hundreds of feet away.

> Silicon circuits to mimic the human brain
Neuromorphic engineering aims to create silicon circuits that mimic the way human and animal brains work. Experts in this field, such as Rahul Sarpeshkar of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are convinced that the future of computing lies in understanding why humans and animals are so good at particular tasks, and in building computers that work in the same way. "Stupid-looking organisms are doing amazing computation," he says. "We need to replicate this in electronics."

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